Analysis 16:06 18/01/2014

U.S. interests in Azerbaijan, still vital?

“The importance of not just Azerbaijan but the Central Caucasus in general for the US is in decline. Five years from now, Azerbaijan will be in a lower stature in terms of American interests and priorities than it has today, and significantly lower than it has been in the past.” Wayne Merry, a senior fellow for Europe and Eurasia at the American Foreign Policy Council, said in an interview with Azerbaijani news agency Turan’s Washington correspondent.

Observing the current political developments of U.S. foreign policy and its relations with Azerbaijan, it can be claimed that Merry has a point, that Azerbaijan is not anymore as attractive for the U.S. as it was before.

The U.S. main interests in Azerbaijan were conditioned by the country’s geopolitical position; that is its strategic location and natural resources; energy resources of Caspian basin, the region’s proximity to Russia, Iran and particularly Afghanistan.

The events of 2013, specifically the launch of U.S- Iran diplomatic talks and expected U.S. troop withdrawal and disengagement from Afghanistan would completely shift the strategic positions of “the figures on chessboard” and the whole system of the regional politics itself.

Current talks between the presidents of Afghanistan and U.S. on possible security deal have got into a stalemate. Hamid Karzai, the president of Afghanistan continuously restrains the signing of security deal. Whereas White House Press secretary Jay Carney said that “the government of Afghanistan has only weeks and not months to sign the security agreement with the U.S.” Otherwise, if Karzai continues to delay the signing of the agreement, by the end of 2014 all the U.S and NATO troops will be withdrawn from Afghanistan. As CNN reports “Obama has, in recent months, grown increasingly frustrated in dealing with Afghan President and according to senior administration official is seriously considering withdrawing all U.S. troops from Afghanistan in 2014”.

Though it has been reported that U.S. may use the Azerbaijani territory for troop withdrawal, even if done so, it is not likely that it will leave its troops in Azerbaijan for a long period. Theodore Karasik, director of research and consultancy at the Institute for Near East and Gulf Military Analysis told the Voice of Russia that in this case there may be clashes of interests in the region and that’s why “all the issues will all come to the forefront and will have to be negotiated.” He added that “U.S. troops in Azerbaijan may contribute to the rise of tensions in the region because of the position of Russia and Iran.”

Russia, striving to regain its former power in the post soviet space would make efforts to block the stay of the forces in the country, while U.S. troop presence in Azerbaijan, neighboring country of Iran, risks to deteriorate recently achieved “peace” between the U.S. and the Islamic Republic. Nevertheless, the recent meeting of the president of Azerbaijan and the NATO Security General revealed Azerbaijan’s decision to support Afghanistan in the new mission of training and consulting of Afghan security forces after 2014. Meanwhile it has also been stated that Azerbaijan will reduce its presence in Afghanistan in post -2014 period.

Thus, when it is not likely that the U.S. will leave its troops in Azerbaijan, it also cannot be claimed that Azerbaijan completely loses its importance for the U.S. However, one thing is clear; the nature and range of the services Azerbaijan is committed to carry out in Afghanistan will differ both in the nature and the importance for the U.S.

Major event, an “historical one” can be considered the rapprochement between U.S and Iran, that ends Iran’s isolation. American-Iranian reconciliation would gradually change the geopolitical environment of the region; it would end the monopoly of Azerbaijan as an alternative energy source and transit route in the region. There would be an increase of oil exports from Iraq and Iran, thus contributing to the lowering of world oil prices. The reconciliation would allow the construction of oil pipelines from China and Kazakhstan to Iran. As it is reported in Natural Gas Europe independent organization’s website some European states want to buy Iran’s natural gas. Turkish Energy Minister Taner Yildiz declared that Iran is planning to build a big pipeline to deliver gas to Europe and five European states already plan to buy gas from Iran.

Consequently, it becomes clear that U.S. - Iran rapprochement not only reduces the significance of current regional actors in provision of security of the region but opens door for new transit routes and alternative sources of energy. In this environment Azerbaijan loses its attractiveness as energy source as well as transit route not only for the U.S. but for the entire West, given that according to recent estimates, as it is reported in American newspaper Financial Times, only 2% of Europe total gas consumption will come from Azerbaijan.

Although the U.S was closely engaged in fostering the global oil supply from the Caspian energy resources to Europe, the recent statistics make it obvious that it is not the case anymore. U.S investments in Azerbaijan reported a decline starting from 2009, decreasing from $117.6 million to $73.8 million in 2011. U.S. foreign assistance to Azerbaijan as well decreased from $26.4 million in 2011 to $16.22 million in 2013. U.S. criticism of 2013 Azerbaijani presidential elections, calling them “not free and fair”, and its harsh approach to the unjustified arrest of election monitoring organization chief had its footprint on U.S. - Azerbaijani relations.

Conclusively, the events taking place in the world politics in recent years, U.S. foreign policy shifts, change of priorities, and scandalous presidential elections of Azerbaijan had their direct impact on U.S. - Azerbaijani relations. U.S. - Iran reconciliation, prospects of new sources of energy and shortcomings in Azerbaijani energy projects have made Azerbaijan less attractive for the United States of America than it was before. However, as long as the situation around Afghanistan is not clear cut, Azerbaijan continues to preserve its role as a strategic player in the region.

Nelli Minasyan



Source Panorama.am
Share |
Տեքստում սխալ կամ վրիպակ նկատելու դեպքում, ուղարկեք խմբագրին հաղորդագրություն` նշելով տվյալ սխալը, այնուհետև սեղմելով Ctrl-Enter:

Newsfeed

20:31
Police: 50 cases of crime detected over the past day in Armenia
According to the operations reports of Police of the Republic of Armenia, 50 cases of crime were detected by officers of various police...
20:11
Erdogan says France has no right to speak about East Mediterranean
Turkey's President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said France has no right to speak on affairs regarding Cyprus, Ahval News reported It reminds...
19:56
PM hosts renowned scientist Raymond Damadian
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan today hosted renowned Armenian scientist, inventor and physician Raymond Damadian, the creator of the magnetic...
19:40
Armenian, Artsakh air defense forces hold military exercises with live fire
On June 18, the air defense forces of the RA Armed Forces launched military exercises with live fire with the involvement of Artsakh ...
18:16
Mogherini: Keeping Iran nuclear deal alive 'is not easy'
The European Union says it will consider Iran to be complying with its obligations under a multinational nuclear deal until scientific evidence...
17:55
Rev. Fr. Kirakos Davtyan to serve as Vicar in the Armenian Diocese of Georgia
By the Pontifical Order of His Holiness Karekin II, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians; Rev. Fr. Vasken Mirzakhanyan, completing...
17:36
Armenia’s marriage rates up in first five months
Number of marriages increased in Armenia in the first five months of 2019, according to the latest figures released by the he Civil Status Acts...
16:55
Vahe Grigoryan elected judge of the Constitution Court
The Armenian National Assembly voted in favor of Vahe Grigoryan’s candidacy to occupy the vacant seat of a judge at the Constitutional...
16:34
Water trucks ready to put out possible wildfires in Khosrov Forest Reserve, deputy head says
Water tank trucks stand ready to extinguish possible wildfires in Armenia’s Khosrov Forest Reserve, Deputy Director Smbat Gharibyan...
15:49
Mkhitar Hayrapetyan quits as head of Armenian delegation to Euronest
Ruling My Step MP Mkhitar Hayrapetyan has stepped down as head of the Armenian delegation to Euronest. Hayrapetyan took to Facebook live to...
15:00
More EU leaders sign up to carbon net-zero goal by 2050 ahead of summit
Germany has joined a growing number of EU nations to back going carbon neutral by mid-century, EU documents show, building momentum for the...
14:46
Artsakh soldier killed in road accident
A contract serviceman of the Artsakh Defense Army has died in the wake of a road accident on Tuesday. The soldier, identified as Arayik...
14:00
Tokyo 2020 medal podiums to be made of recycled plastic
The medal podiums of the 32nd Summer Olympic Games Tokyo 2020 will be created of plastic waste and plastic bottles collected from Japan and the...
13:35
Michel Platini arrested amid investigation into award of 2022 World Cup to Qatar
Former UEFA president Michel Platini has been arrested over the awarding of the 2022 World Cup, Daily Mirror reported. French legend...
13:31
Armenian parliament set to elect new Constitutional Court judge today
The Armenian National Assembly launched its regular four-day session on Tuesday morning. Lawmakers are set to debate on, among other things, the...
13:05
Foreign Ministry welcomes Congressman Frank Pallone’s call for direct U.S.-Artsakh ties
Spokesperson of the Artsakh Foreign Ministry Ani Sargsyan has commented on the statement made by Congressman Frank Pallone on June 13 in the...
12:47
Yerevan appellate court denies bail for Manvel Grigoryan
The Yerevan Court of Appeals, presided over by judge Narine Hovakimyan, on Monday rejected an appeal of the attorneys of Manvel Grigoryan, a...
12:07
Another border village gets street lighting system in Armenia
Located about 7 km from Nakhichevan's border, Armenia's Gomk village is now provided with street lighting. After the collapse of the...
11:50
Armenian FM to meet with Azerbaijani counterpart, top U.S. officials in Washington
Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan is leaving for Washington D.C. on a working visit on Tuesday. Mnatsakanyan is expected to meet...
11:36
‘Marry me and stay with me forever’: Mkhitaryan ties the knot
The captain of Armenia’s national football team and Arsenal midfielder Henrikh Mkhitaryan on Monday married Betty Vardanyan, the...
10:57
Egypt's ousted president Mohammed Morsi dies during trial
Egypt's former President Mohammed Morsi, ousted by the military in 2013 after one year in office, has collapsed in a courtroom and died,...
10:52
Armenian Church commemorates St. Gayane and her companions
The Armenian Apostolic Church honors today the memory of St. Gayane and her companions. All churches across the country are set to celebrate a...
10:33
CoE reaffirms readiness to support Armenian government’s reform agenda
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia received on Monday a delegation led by Council of Europe (CoE) Deputy Secretary General Gabriella...
20:21
New postcard dedicated to the theme “Council of Europe” cancelled in Yerevan
A two-sided postcard with 1 stamp dedicated to the theme “Council of Europe” has been cancelled and put into circulation by...
19:51
Donald Trump calls London mayor a 'disaster'
US President Donald Trump has once again criticised London Mayor Sadiq Khan, calling him a "national disgrace" who is destroying the...
19:16
Greece threatens Turkey with EU sanctions
Greece and Cyprus will push their EU partners to penalize Turkey, including the possible option of sanctions, if Ankara is verified to have...
18:52
Armenian version of the book about Chess Champion Tigran Petrosian presented in Yerevan
The presentation of the Armenian version of the book “The Games of Thrones. How to Win in Chess” about Armenian grandmaster, the...
18:28
Risk of fires high across Armenia, MES warns
Armenia’s ministry of emergency situations reports that the amount of fires has increased 6 times in the first half of June of the current...
17:25
Symbolic protest held in front of the President’s Office ‘to remind president of his constitutional duties’
Activists of Civil Consciousness NGO and AntiFake.am fact checking initiative are holding a protest at Baghramyan 26, in front of the...
16:52
Second torch lit in Khor Virap for the 7th Pan-Armenian Games
The second torch lighting ceremony for the 7th Pan-Armenian Games took place at Khor Virap monastery located on the hills of Ararat province in...

Follow us and get updates!

Most popular articles

{"core.blocks.header.spell_message1":"Selected mistake: ","core.blocks.header.spell_message2":"Send a message about the mistake?"}